A new scientific study published by the European Parliament has revealed that the shipping and aviation sectors will contribute 40% of all CO2 emissions in 2050 if left unchecked.
The study found that shipping alone could be responsible for 17% of global CO2 emissions in 2050 if left unregulated.
The findings come just days ahead of the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21).
Currently, carbon emissions from maritime shipping represent up to 3% of the global total.
According to a study by International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN body tasked with tackling the climate impacts of shipping, shipping greenhouse gas emissions are up 70% since 1990.
The IMO study also found that the carbon emissions from international maritime shipping could increase by 250% in the period to 2050 if left unregulated.
T&E shipping policy officer Sotiris Raptis said: "Now we know that, left unregulated, ships and airplanes could be responsible for almost 40% of global emissions in 2050 if other sectors decarbonise.
"Any deal in Paris must lead to an emissions reduction target and measures for shipping and aviation, otherwise the efforts of all other sectors of the global economy to meet the two degree target could be derailed."
In October, environmental groups Seas At Risk, Transport and Environment (T&E) and the Marine Conservation Society revealed that the draft of the Paris climate agreement to be signed in December, will exempt the aviation and shipping sectors from targeted CO2 emissions cuts.
Additionally, the groups have sent a dossier to delegates attending the IMO 2015 Assembly in London to explain the impacts of increasing emissions from the industry.
The groups are urging that the IMO set targets and agree emissions reduction measures that are consistent with shipping.
Image: Campaigners wearing elephant headdresses. Photo: courtesy of Seas at Risk.